Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Algos Plus Momentum, Herd Behavior Equals Wipeout In Stocks

Monday came as quite a surprise for many investors, as stocks sent a strong message of dislike about something, though nobody is certain just what sparked such a massive selling spree.

For the NASDAQ, it was complete wipeout of last week's gains, minus another 160 points. The other indices were down nearly as much as they were up all of last week.

As noted in Money Daily's Weekend Wrap, technical analysis, showing divergent positions amongst the major indices, was suggesting an imminent breakout in one direction or another. It seems that the market decided to make down the dominant direction... for now.

One might expect these divergences to be resolved in short order, though markets today are guided so much by programmatic trading and headline-chasing algorithms, it's difficult to pinpoint where the breaks are actually occurring and in just what direction they are going to move.

Volatility, as persisted throughout October, appears not to have abated, more than likely the result of many diverse factors, rather than just one. The increased employment of computer algorithms, combined with the market's distinctive her behavior, manifested as "momentum," produced another of 2018's banner sessions to the downside.

The Dow's 602-point drop was the 15th biggest in market history, but also the seventh largest of 2018, a distinction that will not be lost on market observers. 2018 figures to already be the most volatile year in market history.

All that can be said going into the holiday season is to be guardedly guarded. This time does appear to be different. America is beset by warring political parties in Washington and Wall Street is unhappy, at a time in which stocks are already overvalued and due for a mean reversion.

While this one-day event was a scary sight, it almost certainly will not be the last.

Dow Jones Industrial Average November Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
11/1/18 25,380.74 +264.98 +264.98
11/2/18 25,270.83 -109.91 +155.07
11/5/18 25,461.70 +190.87 +345.94
11/6/18 25,635.01 +173.31 +519.25
11/7/18 26,180.30 +545.29 +1064.54
11/8/18 26,191.22 +10.92 +1075.46
11/9/18 25,989.30 -201.92 +873.54
11/12/18 25,387.18 -602.12 +271.42

At the Close, Monday, November 12, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,387.18, -602.12 (-2.32%)
NASDAQ: 7,200.87, -206.03 (-2.78%)
S&P 500: 2,726.22, -54.79 (-1.97%)
NYSE Composite: 12,343.51, -194.02 (-1.55%)

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